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Bike refuses to start

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by Lachlan56, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. Hey guys.

    Today I took advantage of this sunny weather and rode to work, which was fairly uneventfull. The bike started instantly this morning from cold, ran fine all the way to work, started fine and took me away from work with no worries either.

    Aproaching home it started to splutter, I reached down and switched to reserve, and it came back to life. Not 100% sure I was low on fuel, I switched back to normal, bike started to splutter again so obviously it was definetly low on fuel. I switched back to reserve and pulled into a garage 30 seconds down the road from my house. Filled up, switched the bike back to normal, it started and I left. I got about 20 seconds down the road when it cut out. I pulled off to the side, and within 30 seconds it started again. I figured fuel was still working its way in or whatever. Took off again, bike got me to my street, and again died. Luckily I was on the top of a hill and my house is down the bottom so I rolled it down to my house.

    I figured the roll down was a good chance to attempt a clutch start (never tried it before)

    No luck however. I needed to get up my driveway to park the bike. I spent a good 5 minutes trying to start it, tried to choke to no avail. Eventually it coughed into life long enough for me to get it up the driveway, where it died again. I parked the bike in its usual spot.

    I have since tried several times to start it and get nothing. I have tried switching to reserve, tried several choke positions and throttle positions. Nothing. I thought it might be flooded so left it for 45 minutes and tried again, sitll no luck.

    The starter works away just fine, and if I try for a little while I get the distinct smell of fuel.

    The only thing I can think of is spark plugs, but I wouldn't think it would just die and not come back like that.

    Is heat a possibility?
  2. Just had a thought....could it be the fuel?

    I usually put regular in the bike, today I put premium (95 octane)
    Ive put the same fuel in my car from the same servo and its never been cruddy but I guess its possible right?

    I would think the bike would at least start though. Bah.
  3. I reckon it's water in the fuel.
  4. Its almost a full tank straight from the pump. How does water get in? Will I need to drain the tank and try different fuel or will the bike eventually 'work through' the water and start if I keep trying?
  5. Another update:

    I have drained the damn battery flat trying to start the damn thing.

    A mate then came around and he and I started pushing it up my streets hill while I tried to ride it down and clutch start it.

    It was starting (just) and I was being able to pull the clutch in, stop and hold high rev's for about.....ohh.....3 seconds? If that. It would then die. Rinse and repeat.

    Ive sometimes had trouble starting the bike but its never been this bad.
    Given that the problems started pretty much the minute I left the petrol station....its gotta be the fuel right? 95 Octane in a ZZR-250 should work no?
  6. We don't live in a perfect world. Sometimes water gets into a Servo fuel supply system. If you have mechanical skills, drain your fuel system, and see what comes out.
  7. Could be your fuel pump or sender
  8. i had something similar with my gpx... cept my old man was on it at the time. started spluttering, wouldnt rev etc.

    took it to the shop... they cleaned carbies but it was something wrong with the fuel.
  9. I reckon you're only getting a trickle of fuel through. Somewhere between tank and carbs is a fuel filter (maybe inside the tank). Clean or replace it if you can. I very much doubt it is bad fuel but I suppose it's cheap enough to find out. Since the problem seems to have started with you using the reserve tap, I would pull that apart and see if it works, too.
    Next up is the fuel pump. After that the carbs.
    Best o' luck.
  10. Guys,

    Just drained the fuel tank and pulled it from the bike. Im not very good with carbied engines but it looks like after the fuel tap the fuel is meant to run directly into the carbie. I don't even know where the pump is meant to be.

    Is the fuel filter IN the tap? It looks like it comes apart.

    Also if I wanted to clean my fuel tank, would running a hi pressure hose through it for a minute or to, then leaving it upside down in the sun to fully dry be ok or is it a big no no?
  11. Oh and one more question:

    When I took the tank off, with the tap set to either ON or Reserve, no fuel leaked out, but on prime it flowed freely.

    This is normal I assume? For it to flow with on and res it needs pressure or something yes?
  12. It is a vacuum tap. A vac line runs from one inlet port.
  13. Sounds like a fuel delivery problem...

    Either something is blocking the fuel from the tank to the carbs, or there are dirt particles blocking up the jets in the carbs.

    Yep, the fuel is gravity fed and vacuum operated in the "On" & "Res" positions. The "Prime" position on the fuel tap bypasses the vacuum and flows freely.

    There's no inline fuel filter as you have seen. There is a fine plastic mesh in the tank where the fuel enters the petco(c)k, at both "On" and "Res" levels.

    If the engine is flooded, crank it with the throttle wide open and no choke. Make sure you recharge your battery before continuous cranking.

    Dont crank for more than 5-8 sec straight, and rest the battery for at least 30sec between cranks.

    Edit: Cant believe petco*k is censored, LOL.
  14. How much fuel did it take at the servo.
    Sounds like a fuel contamination of some sort, water or even a minor blockage in fuel tap. either way i would remove the tank and flush it out and check the flow out the tap.
    Just my thought
  15. Hey guys,

    thanks to all that offered advice.

    The bike is running great again. Heres what I did:

    I siPhoned as much fuel out of the tank as I could, then removed it (which was suprisingly easy).

    Once removed I worked out that the fuel wouldn't freely flow out with the tap not on Prime so my siphoning was not required, but oh well, you learn as you go.

    Drained the fuel completely into a few buckets I had around, took the tap apart and also had a look at the filters. The reserve filter had a small amount of crud on it, barely any though. I cleaned it, then put it all back together and put in a few litres of regular fuel, from a different service station.

    The battery was dead from trying to crank it too much previously but I just rolled it down my driveway and kicked it into gear and low and behold it roared into life very easily.

    Took the bike for a ride today and its running perfectly.

    My conclusion is that the problem was either bad fuel, or a blockage in the fuel tap which was cleared when I dismantled it. I didn't actually SEE any blockage but who knows.

    Put it this way, we now have enough mower fuel to laste us 5 years :p
  16. Love a happy ending.

    I daresay it was the fuel tap that was the problem. I had the same problem on my bike when I first bought it. The part of mine that was blocked is a closed system so I couldn't open it to clean it out. I ended up running two tanks worth of carby/injector cleaner through it and it got rid of all the muck.

    Congrats on the happy ending :)
  17. Your "mower fuel" is probably fine, the problem might have started when you selected 'reserve' and got some crud in the system from lower in the tank.